Categories
50s to 90s

Postcard Sent by Malcolm X from Kuwait, 1964

Someone on Reddit found the postcard above that was written and sent by Malcolm X from Kuwait back in 1964. Malcolm X was an African American Muslim minister and human rights activist who was a popular figure in the US during the civil rights movement. Following his exit from the Nation of Islam, he took a pilgrimage to Mecca and during that time, he also traveled to Kuwait, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Casablanca.

The postcard above was one of 16 postcards that were auctioned off in 2016 and were sent by Malcolm to Gloria Owens, who was the secretary at Muhammad’s Temples of Islam where he was a minister alongside Louis Farrakhan. The postcard reads:

Greetings from beautiful Kuwait. Since I’ve seen what a mess can be made of things by narrow-minded people, I’m still traveling, trying to broaden my scope.

Until just a few moments ago I had no idea Malcolm had visited Kuwait. I’ll try and see if I can dig up anything from his trip but for now, if you want to see a higher resolution version of the postcard above, click here.

Thanks Ayr909!

Categories
50s to 90s

Old Postcards of Kuwait – 1950s

A few years ago, a reader called John Beresford who used to live in Kuwait back in the 50s sent me some photos and a writeup in life in Kuwait back then. The posts turned out to be incredibly popular and crazily enough, a bunch of people who used to be kids growing up in Ahmadi back in the 50s started reconnecting again in the comments of those posts. Yesterday John got in touch with me again since he had found and scanned some old postcards of his dating from that era. He shared them with me along with some comments on each. As with the previous posts, John shares a lot of interesting insights and tidbits to life in Kuwait back in the 50s so please make sure you read his comments under the postcards.

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A couple of years ago I sent you some memories of life in Ahmadi in the 1950s.

I have found some old postcards, a couple are 1960’s, the rest must be the early 50s, maybe the 1940s. I am unsure when the British Residency became the British embassy or when the Naif Gate disappeared, but if you find out it might give a guide to dating them.

Jashanmal Kuwait City
Jashanmals have been around forever in the Gulf. We used the one in Ahmadi which like most other shops was moved to a new shopping center built in the early 1960s. I don’t remember the part of Ahmadi this was in, but I still remember the road system and I can even mentally drive there after more than 50 years! I recall the Indian manageress telling my mother that the inflatable globes she had ordered for the shop were useless as customs had cut the map of Israel out of each one!

British Agency, Kuwait Town
I am unsure when this was taken. I suspect Sir Percy Cox was still around, he was at the time of the Abadan Crisis -1952 I think- my mother was a nurse in MIS and got thrown out with everyone else when the AIOC (Anglo Iranian Oil Co) was nationalized, and was allowed 66lbs baggage allowance to go home to UK. She then signed up to join KOC working at the Nissen hut hospital at Magwa, between Ahmadi and what became the new airport.

Mina Al Ahmedi, South Jetty
This is a view towards the industrial area, with Ahmadi 5 miles in the distance, up the ridge that allowed the oil to flow under gravity down towards the refinery and the jetty. As the spherical LPG tanks are in the picture this is mid-1960’s. On the shore, just out of the pic on the left, is where the Boat Club (Small Boat Owners’ Association) and the yacht Club (Cumberland Yacht Club) were. Their little beaches were gradually surrounded by the KOC Industrial Area. The shoreline on the right wanders up towards Faaheel. The green building suspended over the sea was a facility for ships crew, there was a cafe, games room, basic shopping facilities and a barber which for a time my father used to take me to – he had a pass for the jetty. If a crewman was ill he could be moved up to the KOC hospital, The Southwell Hospital in Ahmadi. The little triangle of water in the foreground is where a whale, unfortunately, became trapped. It swam unexpectedly, perhaps following a tanker, and could not find a way out. Attempts to assist it proved futile and sadly it eventually died. I remember that people were allowed to come and see it when it was still swimming and surfacing, as no-one had seen a whale before. But what type it was, or what size, I don’t remember.

Oil Rig
Once these had been set up they were able to be moved (skidded) on tracks, towed by a team of bulldozers in harness. The desert was firm and basically flat and there wasn’t really anything in the way, so they were towed to where they were next needed. The pipes that took the oil away to the gathering centres, where it received an initial processing that involved getting rid of a lot of the gas (there was no market for LPG at the time) were drape over the desert and where a road had to go, the pipes were dug into trenches and the service road put over it. The service roads are graded desert that had crude oil sprayed on it and then the surface was rolled, with more oil added, and more rolling. They were the smoothest roads I have ever driven on, very quiet. They might have needed some repair after heavy rain, but usually only if they had been underwater since the oiled surface repelled light showers. With very heavy traffic (e.g. trailers with large pipes) the surface could become damaged with furrows where the trailer wheels had made a groove, and if you were in a car and a wheel caught it then it could get exciting, but as you were in the middle of nowhere it wasn’t as though you could hit anything. And if something did go wrong, you always had a supply of water with you, and someone knew you were on that route, and someone was expecting you.

I don’t have any comments for these. I guess they are early 1950s but I don’t know enough about American cars to make a judgment, and anyway, cars from that era seem to last forever. I guess nowadays most people have Japanese/Far Eastern cars but I remember a family trip by car from Ahmadi to Kuwait Town and back in about 1968/1969 and we decided to count the number of Volkswagen Beetles we saw; we nearly reached 900! They were so popular for a time, they were the basic car of choice for those who were not rich. Then after a while, they just disappeared.

Categories
50s to 90s Photography

Old Kuwait Postcards – Part 2

carlton-hotel-kuwait

A few months back I posted a collection of old Kuwaiti postcards which I had found by mistake on eBay while searching for something else. This time around I found a larger collection of old Kuwaiti postcards but I was deliberately looking for them.

phoenicia-hotel-kuwait

What I find fascinating about these old postcards is the fact they highlight important locations and buildings of that era, ones that are forgotten about or don’t even exist today. That’s why for this post I’ve highlighted these two specific postcards, one of the Carlton Hotel and the other of the Phoenicia Hotel. According to this old scan from a 1966 magazine, Phoenicia was the a beautiful place where you could experience the most beautiful days of your life. Good times, check out all the postcards below.

To purchase any of these postcards visit this [Link]

Categories
50s to 90s Kuwait Photography

Old Kuwait Postcards

I was searching for random stuff on eBay when I spotted a bunch of different sellers selling old postcards of Kuwait. I saved the most interesting ones to share below. Notice how much greener Kuwait was back in the old days? Also you might notice some of the postcards feature the Kuwait Towers while still under construction. The postcard I decided to highlight above is of “The Yachting Club”. [eBay Link]

There are two images of the back of the postcards with writings. I don’t know what language they’re in (my guess Bulgarian and Italian?) but if anyone can translate them to English that would be fantastic. Also what happened to all the seagulls??

Update: A friend noted the seagulls might have been super imposed on that shot. Looking at it closely I can’t seem to find any shadows of the seagulls so that’s probably the case.

Categories
Coronavirus

Getting Food without a Civil ID Card

There is one question that is being asked over and over on the blog and I don’t seem to have a good answer for. How can you get food from the supermarket if you don’t have a Civil ID card? To book an appointment on the moci.shop website you need to have a Civil ID number but that means anyone in Kuwait on a tourist visa, or anyone that moved to Kuwait just before the government shut down and didn’t get their Civil ID yet won’t be able to book an appointment.

There was a blog post that got published yesterday about an American couple in Kuwait on tourist visas complaining about this. Although the article has some inaccurate information in it (there is no 30 item limit when shopping at the supermarket for example), it does highlight this issue further.

So how do you get food if you don’t have a Civil ID? The best options I’ve been able to come up with are the following:

– Order food from the bakala on your street since they are allowed to open during the lockdown.

– Order from the Coop with Whatsapp. Every area coop has a delivery service by Whatsapp and some even have websites. Visit your Coop Instagram account for more information.

Previously I’ve suggested ordering from Oncost since they were delivering during the lockdown but they’ve stopped that now. If you have another option other than the two I’ve listed, let us know in the comments.

Update: A few moments ago @mociq8 posted the graphic below. If you’re in Kuwait on a tourist or family visa you can now book an appointment!

Categories
Apps Food

Slice Now on SnappCard

slice

SnappCard is a digital loyalty card app that I’ve previously posted about on the blog. They’ve been adding new restaurants since they launched but since my friend is running the app in Kuwait, there are two places I had been nagging him from the start to include in it, Elevation Burger and my favorite Döner kebab place, Slice. These were the only two places I went to that had loyalty cards and because I don’t keep the cards in my wallet, I sometimes don’t have them on me when I visit them. Since last week though Slice is now part of SnappCard and their offer is actually pretty good. Previously after 7 orders you would get a free sandwich but now all you need is 6 orders and you get a choice between a Slice box (carbs free option which is what I take), a Rice box or a combo (sandwich, fries and drink).

snappcard

While we’re on the subject of SnappCard, Poêle, one of my favorite lunch spots is also in the app. If you haven’t heard of SnappCard before, check out my previous post on it [Here]

Categories
Reviews

Posta Plus vs Aramex’s Shop & Ship

postaplus

I tend to be very loyal to the brands I use and like, and Aramex Shop & Ship is no exception. I’ve had a Shop & Ship account with them since 2001 (thats 15 years!) and although I use other similar US mailbox forwarding services (like MyUS.com) for some packages, Aramex has always been the service I use for the majority of my items.

But recently I’ve started disliking Aramex since they weren’t being honest and transparent with me. Packages from my Shop & Ship mailbox used to take around 7 days to get to me once they shipped but with my last three packages it took twice as long. In fact, they’ve been spending around 7 days just to get from Bahrain (their regional hub) to Kuwait! I kept pressing them for a reason, I just wanted to know why suddenly things were taking twice as long and nobody would give me an answer. I harassed them on twitter, I harassed them over the phone and using their live chat service yet nobody would tell me. They just acted like it was business as usual when it clearly wasn’t. So I posted about my frustration on the blog and thats when the guys at Posta Plus contacted me and asked me to try their service. At first I replied back thanking them for emailing me but that I was loyal to Aramex. But then I thought to myself, why the loyalty? I’ve spent thousands and thousands of dinars with Aramex, I’ve been a customer for over 15 years, I was one of their first Shop & Ship customers in Kuwait and yet I have the same benefits of a customer that would sign up today. So if I’m not important enough a client for Aramex, why should I be loyal to them? So I decided to sign up to the Posta Plus US mail forwarding service called MyBox and give them a shot.

Other than a few quibbles which I’ll discuss below, I’ve decided that I will be using Posta Plus from now on instead of Aramex for a number of reasons.

postavsaramex

The Good Stuff

– Posta Plus is considerably cheaper as you can see in the shipping cost comparison above.

– You can get a hold of their customer support instantly. Their hotline is very simple, you call, it asks you what language you prefer and then you’re connected to the support person who in my case picked up the phone instantly as soon as I pressed “2” for English. If you’ve ever tried calling Aramex for support you know how difficult and how long it takes to get a hold of someone.

– Like Aramex, Posta Plus also charge KD1 custom clearance fee. But, unlike Aramex, if you have a number of packages arriving at the same time, you have the option to consolidate them during the customs process and that way you’ll pay KD1 custom clearance fee for all the packages combined.

– In case you don’t want a package to be delivered, you have the option to “Hold” that package one package from within your Posta Plus dashboard so you could go pick it up yourself.

– Their delivery guys contact you before they head over to deliver the package to make sure you’re home.

– Their delivery speed is much faster than Aramex. So far the two packages that I shipped using Posta Plus, the first one was delivered 4 days after it left the States while the second one took 5 days. Thats 3x faster than my last few shipments with Aramex!

As I mentioned earlier, I did have a few issues with Posta Plus, none were deal breakers to me but I’ll mention them anyway.

The Not So Good Stuff

– I ran into an issue when signing up to their service. I went through the sign up process to setup an account but when it came time to pay my card got declined. I then couldn’t try again with another card since there was no try again option. So, I went through the processes of setting up the account again but it told me I couldn’t because the email was already in use. I tried logging into my account but their website told me the account didn’t exist. So I was stuck not being able to create and account because their system thought I had an account which in fact didn’t exist. I had to contact support to fix this.

– Right now you can’t pay for your packages online (it’s cash on delivery), but they’ll be offering this service soon. I really prefer paying for my stuff online with Knet.

packagedeliveries

– You can only track your Posta Plus packages via their website. I usually track all my packages with the “Deliveries” app on my iPhone and Mac (pictured above) but the app doesn’t recognize Posta Plus tracking numbers. It recognizes Aramex on the other hand.

– This next one could be a plus for some people but was a negative for me. They notify you constantly by email and SMS on the status of your packages. You get an email and SMS when your package arrives to your mailbox, and then an email and SMS when it ships from your mailbox, when it goes to clearance you get an email and then when its out for delivery an email and SMS. The issue I had is there is no way to turn on or off the notifications and it was annoying to get an email and an SMS telling me the exact same thing. What made things worst in my case was I was getting two or three duplicate emails from their server by mistake. After complaining to them about it I think I don’t get any notification at all now which is also not something I want.

– Every time I log into their dashboard I get a pop up informing me they now have Canada as a mailbox location. I got it the first time, I don’t need to keep seeing the pop up every single time I want to log in to my account. Pop ups are really annoying.

posta

In Conclusion

Before Posta Plus I was using Shop & Ship for packages I wasn’t in a hurry to get and MyUS for packages I wanted ASAP. I was using Shop & Ship because they were cheaper than MyUS and since I didn’t need every item ASAP, the amount I was saving was worth it. But now I’m going to stop using both Shop & Ship and MyUS since Posta Plus is a much cheaper alternative to Aramex and nearly as fast as MyUS (+1/-1 day). Posta Plus is also a local brand and I like support local brands that are actually good. They kinda feel like Aramex in the early days which is a very good thing. They do have a bunch of issues they need to get sorted and so far they seem to be very accepting of my criticism and willing to improve things.

So if you’re frustrated with Aramex and are looking for an alternative thats cheaper and faster, Posta Plus is the way to go. The sign up fee is KD8 and here is a link to their [Website]

Note: The rate calculator on the Posta Plus website is completely in accurate.

Categories
Apps Shopping

Alshaya Privileges Club Card App

alshayacard

Late last year Alshaya soft launched their “Privileges Club” card. The card provide a number of benefits to Alshaya shoppers including automatically entering them into their monthly prize draws and giving them access to exclusive offers amongst other benefits. Back when I posted about the card their app hadn’t been released yet but now that the app is out I figured I’d post about it because it’s actually a pretty good one.

The biggest issue I have with my Privileges Club card or any other loyalty card for that matter (like my IKEA one) is I never carry them with me since I’ve got one of those slim wallets which can only fit four cards. So I end up leaving my loyalty cards at home and forget to take them with me when I go shopping. The best feature about the Alshaya Privileges Club card app is the fact you don’t have to carry the physical card with you, instead they can just scan the card’s QR code from your screen. Other benefits of the app is that it lets you know how many entries you have in their monthly draw, what new offers are available, the ability to sign up or sign out of notifications and other helpful features. It’s a loyalty card done right surprisingly. So if you’ve got an Alshaya Privileges Club card, download the app. I’m not sure if it’s available on Android but on iPhones just search for Alshaya in the Apple App Store.

Update: It’s also available on Android.

Categories
Shopping

Alshaya Privileges Club Card

alshayacard

Alshaya have finally launched their loyalty card called “Privileges Club”. The card will have a number of benefits including automatically entering you into their monthly prize draws, giving you access to exclusive offers, and also offer you something they’re calling “VIP Experiences” where you will be allowed to pre-shop certain sales before the general public does, or get bigger discounts on certain collections.

I signed up to it yesterday while picking up tea from Teavana. It’s an easy process but you need to give them your name, phone number and birthday. I honestly didn’t want to give them my phone number since I didn’t want to get any ads on my phone but the employee told me she would put a note that I didn’t want to receive any messages. That was a complete fail since 15 minutes after leaving the store I got two messages, one welcoming me to the Privileges Club and the other telling me about a Sprinkles Cupcakes offer. I mean I don’t mind these Privileges Club messages every now and then I just hope they don’t give my number to their other Alshaya brands.

A Privileges Club app will be released soon which will allow you to control things such as what kind of SMS’s to get but right now if you want to unsubscribe from any of the Alshaya SMS mailing lists, all you need to do is call Alshaya support up on 1821212 and request to be removed. The process takes 48 hours and you can thank me later.

Update: Right after I published this post I got another message from Alshaya about a Katsuya offer. These messages should hopefully stop by tomorrow since 48 hours would have passed but if they don’t I’m going to end up canceling my card.

Categories
Information Video Games

Buying Digital Cards in Kuwait

cards

Buying digital games is becoming a more realistic option with this recent generation of consoles. This is mainly due to the fact that the consoles all have big enough storage, support external hard drives and because our internet speeds are pretty decent so buying a physical copy of a game isn’t necessary anymore. This is positive, especially in Kuwait where games are expensive and since not every game is sometimes even available. On top of that Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft discount a bunch of games for their consoles throughout the year. The problem for us in this region is that our gaming consoles only accept credit cards from the region you have your location set, which will always either be the U.S. or the U.K. So it’s good to know what websites offer digital codes that could be sent directly to your email.

Keep in mind that the only websites that support KNET are local. So if you’re planning on purchasing a digital code from Amazon, be prepared to use your credit card. So what’s the advantage of buying a digital code off Amazon? Well if you’re buying the $10 PSN card, it costs $9.99 which is equivalent to about KD3. $10 PSN cards in Kuwait go for KD3.750 to KD4 depending on the site you choose. If you have a credit card then there aren’t many disadvantages to getting a digital code from Amazon, the only one I can think of is that if you’re an owner of a Nintendo console, you’re out of luck since Amazon doesn’t sell digital codes for the Nintendo consoles.

For those who want to use Knet, we’re not short on options when it comes to local websites. Currently the websites that offer digital codes (to my knowledge) are Blink, X-Cite and GamesQ8. Digumz sells cards, but it’s unclear if they email the digital codes or not. The website that seems to have the best deals when it comes to PSN and Nintendo cards is X-Cite, but their Microsoft cards are more expensive than the others. GamesQ8 is generally pricier than the other websites and will only send you the digital codes through email only during their working hours.

It’s also important to note that if you’re looking for iTunes cards, both Blink and GamesQ8 currently sell digital codes.

Posted by Patrick

Categories
Information

Picking up mail from the Post Office *updated*

parceldelivery

Today I picked up a package from the post office for the very first time and I was pleasantly surprised with my experience.

A few weeks ago I ordered an item from an online store in Germany and chose DHL as my shipping option. Little did I know that DHL also had postal mail which is how the store mailed my package to Kuwait. When I found out they had shipped it by regular mail I almost had a heart attack. The item was limited (just 1 of 5) and I thought it was gonna get lost for sure because I kept hearing how screwed the local mail system was. It took around 10 days for the package to get here and I finally had the time today to go pick it up.

mail

I took my tracking number and headed to the Kaifan Post Office where all international mail gets delivered to. Package pickups are in the basement and all I had to do was give a woman behind a counter my tracking number which she then typed out on a computer and told me that it had arrived and to wait while they get it. Five minutes later my name was called and I showed them my civil ID card and signed a paper that I had received the shipment. My shipment was then passed over to the customs agent who opened to see what was inside before handing it over to me.

post-office

It was such an incredibly easy process that I think I’m going to be shipping stuff to Kuwait via regular mail much more often. Things to note, they’re open from 8AM to 1PM and once a package arrives to Kuwait they store it for 40 days before sending it back or destroying it. If you want to know where the post office is, here it is on [Google Maps]

Update: They’ve changed the location. To pick up mail you now need to head to Al Sadiq, block 5 near the police station and boubyan bank. Here is the location on [Google Maps]

Categories
Television

House of Cards

The Kelsey Grammer TV series Boss was one of my favorite American political dramas but it sadly got canceled last year. On the bright side I think I just found a great alternative, House of Cards. House of Cards stars Kevin Spacey as a congressman and in the same way Boss was offering a behind the scenes look into US politics, House of Cards does pretty much the same thing.

Kevin Spacey’s character was promised the position of Secretary of State by the US President if elected. But when the President ended up getting elected (and all because of Kevin Spacey’s help), he decides to backtrack on his promise and give the position to someone else which pisses Kevin Spacey off who decides to take revenge. Kevin Spacey’s character is an amazing mastermind and watching him plan and set things in motion all to help him gain more power and control is really exciting and just makes you want to continue watching to see what he has planned next.

The first episode starts off a bit slow but it quickly picks up and then becomes really hard to stop watching. House of Cards was originally created for Netflix but you can also watch it on OSN and it’s also available online on OSN Play. So if you’re looking for an alternative to Boss or if you’re into political dramas then check out House of Cards.

Categories
Apple Geek

Nano Sim Cards in Kuwait

The new iPhone 5 uses new “nano” sim cards that are smaller and slimmer than micro sim cards. Luckily it seems all local telecom providers will be getting nano sim cards and we won’t have to do any cutting or card slimming to get it working with our iPhone 5’s. Wataniya already posted on twitter that they will have nano sim cards and Viva just confirmed to me that they will also have nano sim cards available. I’ve contacted Zain as well but I’m still waiting for a reply from them.

Categories
Apple Information

Using the iPad App store without a US credit card

I started getting a lot of emails after my Zinio post asking me how I am getting my apps from the iPad app store without using a US credit card. Well, in case you missed it, I already posted a step by step guide [Here]

Update: Here is a step by step walk-through…

1) Go to maximuscards.com and purchase an iTunes card
2) Open up iTunes and go to the iTunes store
3) Make sure you’re not signed in to your Kuwait account
4) Scroll to the bottom of the store and make sure the US flag is showing on the bottom right. If its not click the flag and choose US.
5) On the bottom of the iTunes store you will find a bunch of text links
6) Click on “Redeem”
7) Copy and paste the code Maximus Cards emailed you
8) Then choose create new account and follow the instructions (enter a US address)
9) When it comes to payment options there should now be an option called “none”, click that
10) Continue till the end and you should end up with a US account without having to use a credit card

When you run out of credits in your account you need to follow steps 1 to 7 and then for step 8 sign in the account you previously created. Below are screenshots showing the steps above.

Now if you aren’t interested in purchasing anything from the US app store but instead just want to download free apps that aren’t available in the Kuwait store (like CNN, Amazon and eBay) you can follow the steps below:

1) Make sure you’re not signed in to your Kuwait account
2) Scroll to the bottom of the store and make sure the US flag is showing on the bottom right. If its not click the flag and choose US.
3) Buy any free iPhone or iPad app from the US store
4) When you are asked to login create a new account
5) Enter a US address and choose “None” for payment method

Categories
Design

Interesting Business Card Designs

card

This is a link to a blog post that contains 70 different business card designs. A lot of nice looking cards, my favorites are the interactive ones like the one pictured above. [Link]